Sams out at NHS principal

COVINGTON -- Newton High School Principal Roderick Sams resigned on Wednesday.

In a letter to Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews, Sams resigned from his position effective Sept. 1. Dr. Sams said his resignation was "due to a series of issues that are personal in nature," according to a press release by NCSS.

Sams, who was hired in July 2008 to replace resigning Principal Joe Gheesling, shared his resignation with the NHS faculty and staff in a meeting Wednesday afternoon held at the school. Mathews also attended the meeting.

Sams was principal of Blakeney Elementary School in Burke County from July 2006 until he took the job at NHS; he also served as principal of Burke County High School and Sardis-Girard-Alexander Elementary School.

Mathews told the faculty and staff on Wednesday afternoon that his full attention was now focused on the welfare and forward progress of Newton High School, according to the press release.

"Immediate stability for Newton High is a number one priority," Mathews said in the press release. "Please know that Dr. Sams and his family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Dr. Carl Skinner, who was an assistant principal at NHS from 2002 to 2009 and currently is the NCSS director of Testing, Research and Evaluation, will serve as interim principal of NHS, effective today.

"Dr. Skinner, I believe, brings the professional expertise and relationship-building skills to ensure instructional improvement at Newton High," Mathews said. "We are fortunate that he has accepted this interim appointment, and I hope he will be a candidate for the permanent job which is entirely up to him."

Mathews said the position of principal at NHS would be posted and interviews would be held in order to appoint a permanent principal "in the very near future."

"Let me assure the Newton High School community that we will do nothing less than ultimately appoint the very best leader for NHS," Mathews said. "It's important to the students, to their parents, to the staff and to the school and school system's ultimate success."

Sams did not answer calls to his school office at NHS or his home on Wednesday afternoon.